Spence balances a draft's teeth using no speculum, halter, or drugs!
When it feels right, the horses will often help get the job done!
A horse's skull is an intricate puzzle of nerves, muscles, and bone. Everything we do to the teeth has an impact on the horse's neuromuscular balance.
Spence, and all natural balance dentists have a unique way of working with the horses as they balance their teeth. Most horses find it quite relaxing!
October 16, 2012
Written by Terri Beecher, Registered Dental Hygienist & Owner of Out West Saddlery, information provided by and article approved by Spencer LaFlure, EpD., DDS Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry www.advancedwholehorsedentistry.com
*We at Out West Saddlery have worked with Spencer for over 25 years and seen the miracles his work has given to many horses!
Equine Neuromuscular Dentistry
Teeth are essentially calcified nerves….
Power floating or aggressive tooth floating can cause the neurological signal to the muscle cells to shut down due to the heat created from the power tools (human dentists always use water to cool their powered instruments) and loss of critical occlusion and balance between the upper and lower jaw and TMJ joint. There is no spark from the nerves to the muscle cells telling the muscle cells to consume nutrients from food. The muscle cells go dormant and atrophy. No matter how much you feed your horse they can look like they are starving and wasting away. With enough time and damage done to the teeth they will look sunken in at the withers, along the whole spine, croup, sides of the hips and the sides of the neck. Sometimes a horse will exhibit signs and symptoms of “wobbles” or “EPM” which is actually from incorrect dental work causing neurological damage to the muscles. Generally the signs or symptoms of damage show up in the horse’s body between 5 -7 months.
So like a car engine…..you can keep feeding an engine gasoline but if you have no spark from the spark plugs igniting the fuel the car won’t run.
Incorrect bio mechanical balancing of the horse’s teeth with the TMJ joint, simple tooth floating, can manifest as a variety of lameness’s and inability to perform maneuvers asked of them. If they don’t have a full range of motion in their jaw, they won’t have a full range of movement in their body due to their upper and lower tooth relationship causing them interference.
Curvature of Wilson in the human should not be altered/flattened….inside of lower molars are shorter than the outside/inside of upper molars are longer than the outside.
Curvature of Cameron in the horse should not be altered/flattened…inside of lower molars are longer than the outside/inside of upper molars are shorter than the outside.
Removing either is destructive to the neurological function of the body.
Vibration Therapy - will speed up tooth eruption so there is sufficient tooth structure for an Equine Neuromuscular Dentist to work with to correct dental imbalance after power floating or aggressive styles of equine dentistry that compromise anatomically correct clinical crown. Vibrate the upper and lower jaw area 3 - 5 minutes 2 - 3 times a day; use something like a shaver or massager. To acclimate the horse start by putting your fingers on the gum or lip and place the vibrator on the elbow and work towards moving as close to the horse as possible. On average this takes 3 – 4 months.
To learn more see Spencer LaFlure’s DVD Horseman’s Guide To Natural Balanced Dentistry
Spencer LaFlure, our Director of Dental Studies, was born on a pack trip through the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Spencer grew up on his parents’ two dude ranches there. He has had a lifetime of experiences with all kinds of horses. After a successful rodeo career, he trained horses but decided he could better help the horse through dentistry. He is currently the director of Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry Learning Center and founder of Natural Balance Dentistry™. He now practices extensively throughout the United States.
After five years of research, Spencer developed a procedure he calls Natural Balance Dentistry™ which consists of equilibrating the front teeth first according to each individual horse’s bars of the mouth, then going on to equilibrate or balance the back teeth to restoring centric relationship of the TMJ. He has had tremendous success with this procedure, and as he puts it, “I haven’t had a horse yet that it hasn’t worked on with fantastic results!”
He presented his theory of Natural Balance Dentistry™ at the 2001 Parelli Savvy Conference in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It was well received and that led him to Australia and Indio, California and the Jumping Horse World. One of the horses he worked on went on to win a $75,000 Grand Prix. Spencer was also invited to work on young horses at the LaCense Ranch in Montana run by professional horse trainer Ron Willis. Ron commented on the marked improvement it made on the horses in the 2002 colt starting. Spencer has used this procedure on horses owned by such top horse handlers as Pat and Linda Parelli, Tom Curtin, Mark Rashid, Craig Johnson and Brian Reed to name a few. His goal is to educate horsemen on the importance of this procedure for whatever discipline they are in.
After years in the making, Spencer introduced to the public the first DVD of its kind entitled “Horseman’s Guide to Natural Balance Dentistry ™”. It shows, in great detail, in very simple terms for the average horse person, how totally balancing a horses’ mouth will balance his body and enhance his performance to its highest potential! Spencer specializes in bite realignment; restoring proper bio mechanics of the jaw and restoring the centric relationship of the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which then turns on and enhances neurological signals from the teeth to the entire body.
Spencer’s unique landmark development of addressing the inclination of the incisors first makes profound changes throughout the horse’s body and in the stomatognatic system as well. A balanced mouth is much more than about how the horse eats. It’s about proper neurological function; more than anyone has ever thought of before Natural Balance Dentistry.
“I’ve been studying Horse Dentistry for about a decade and learning something new every day.”
In the first few years of my study and application, it was from other people’s research & development that we all relied on, but I found out that most of that information, other than terminology, did not fit the horse at all. I believe that Horse Dentistry, when done properly, with natural balance in mind must have its point of beginning with the front teeth.
Neurologically speaking, the relationship of the anatomical alignment of the TMJ and the incisors to the body should be our goal. I proved in a thesis that the natural length and angle of incisors along with the restored neurological signal to the teeth and motion of the TMJ will maintain or increase muscle mass in the body of the horse. Natural balance of the Equine mouth is more related to motion and mass than what we have been led to believe. Also critical is the centric relationship of the TMJ and neurologically correct communication of teeth through bite planes as it anatomically fits the horse!
Another part of my studies has evolved over the past years on our own ranch. Being able to see top line changes in our own horses and realizing these transformations were brought on by rebooting the neurology of the stomatognatic system, through re-establishing the curve of Cameron, anatomically correct the centric relation of the TMJ, and allowing the function, dynamically speaking. We could see young and old horses would maintain and improve overall body mass and performance. We continue our research here at our ranch on the positive effects Natural Balance Dentistry® has on the performance of the horses.
If we take NASCAR as an example: In order for the race cars to run at peak performance, a PIT CREW is used. Each professional, specializing in a certain area (bodywork, mechanics, electrician, tires, etc.) works with the team, in conjunction with the crew chief. In order for the horse to be at the peak of its performance and in the best shape health wise, they too need a (pit crew) team of professionals, in conjunction with a veterinarian, working together with each in their area of expertise.
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